Red Square, Black Square: Organon for Revolutionary Imagination

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SUNY Press, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 200 pages
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Red Square, Black Square traces the process of totalitarian reduction of the modernist impulse into a rigid party doctrine. It follows the turbulent development of Russian Modernism through its categorical arrest under the official doctrine of “socialist realism.” Moscow’s Red Square is examined as a primal communist space that manifests the symbolism of power. Revolution and modernization are two main issues of the book. The author argues that in Modernism the work of art was conceived as a miniature of the world to come; thus, art was meant to make projects, not master-pieces. He analyzes the genre of the manifesto as a special rhetorical device of modernist discourse and shows how projects of biological and social engineering elaborate a vision of a future human type apt to exist under unprecedented conditions.

Viewing communism as an aesthetically, not economically, motivated society, the book enacts “political aesthetics” as a discipline that provides the fundamental tool for an adequate and thorough understanding of communism. Todorov concludes by discussing the rise of nationalism in Eastern Europe as a post-communist condition, and the new mission of the intellectuals
 

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Contents

Revolutionary Merger of the Political and the Aesthetic
15
The Political Aesthetics of Modernization
20
Revolutionary Devices
29
Revolutionary Merger of Science and Art
43
The Plot of Modernism and Its Centers
48
On the Day After
95
Party Science vs Political Art
99
The Hologram World
105
The Mummacrum of Power
144
Permutatio Publica
149
The Birth of the Mummy from the Spirit of Ideology
150
On the PostConspiratorial Society
165
The Constitution of Social Integritas
173
The Dangerous Intellect
177
THE END
185
References
189

Induratio Spatii of the Revolution
125
Poetics of the Conspiratorial Space
126
The Appearance of the Whole is Figurative
137

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About the author (1995)

Vladislav Todorov is in the Department of Slavic Languages at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.